Brief: Harvard adopts two-year moratorium on accepting transfer students

Harvard University will not accept transfer students for the next two academic years in an effort to ease a residential housing crunch, the university announced last week.

Although the transfer application deadline for this year — Feb. 15 — has already passed, Harvard will not enroll any new transfer students in 2008-’09 or 2009-’10. The university also plans to renovate its residential spaces in the coming years to further alleviate overcrowding, according to a statement released by the admissions office.

While Yale also faces housing limitations, the admissions office has no plans to revisit its transfer-student policy, Dean of Admissions Jeff Brenzel said last week.

“The number of transfer students is so small that it does not significantly affect campus housing,” Brenzel wrote in an e-mail. “We are not planning any changes in the program at this time.”

Yale admits about 30 transfer students each year out of a pool of around 800, with the goal of matriculating about 24, Brenzel said. For the 2007-’08 academic year, 28 out of 778 applicants were admitted, for an acceptance rate of 3.6 percent.

Harvard announced last spring that the university would accept half as many transfer student applicants for the current year as they had in previous years in order to make room for larger freshman classes. While 85 transfers were admitted for the 2006-’07 academic year, only 40 were admitted for this year, according to the Harvard Crimson. The hundreds of transfer applications for this fall will not be considered.

The future of Harvard’s transfer program following the 2009-’10 academic year has not yet been determined, Harvard spokesman Robert Mitchell said last week.

Harvard administrators underscored the importance of the residential experience in the announcement, noting that Harvard does not admit transfer students as non-residents.

“In important respects, undergraduate education at Harvard College is residential in character,” the statement read. “Students learn a great deal from the residential experience and contact with one another, complementing the experience of classrooms and laboratories.”


  • Anonymous

    What an absolute fiasco. This is the biggest mistake Harvard has made in a long time. Encouraging 1200 transfer applicants to apply and then rejecting their applications based on a housing mistake is no small matter. What reason does Harvard have in singling out the transfers? The best solution would be to select the best transfer applicants and the best freshmen applicants--and give admission (and housing) to whoever is on top overall out of both the categories. Isn't that the way college admissions is supposed to work? Harvard may refund the transfer applicants application fees, but it will never be able to return all of the time and effort and other fees such as SAT retakes etc for the transfer applications. What was Harvard thinking by making this decision? It is absolutely preposterous. Transfers deserve to have their applications considered for acceptance based on their merit, and Harvard is setting a terrible example of using this housing issue--or any issue whatsoever, as an excuse to deny admission to applicants instead of basing the decision for admittance off of the quality of the applications. This decision should be reversed for the transfer applicants to have justice.

  • Anonymous

    Call and complain:

    HARVARD COLLEGE (Transfer Admissions) Contact Details:

    Phone: 617-495-1551

    Dean of Harvard College: Dean David Pilbeam, 617-495-1560;

    Associate Dean of Harvard College: Bob Doyle, 617-384-5980;

    Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid: William R. Fitzsimmons, 617 495-1557

    Dean of Admissions for Harvard College: Marlyn McGrath Lewis, (617) 495-1551

  • Anonymous

    Relax, Seth. Having to stay at Yale won't be the worst of fates.

  • Anonymous

    I'm not at Yale.

  • Anonymous

    Though I am breathing a bit easier knowing that Yale is not reconsidering their acceptance of transfer students, it still makes me a bit wary will it be that much harder for me this year applying to Yale as a transfer student…

  • Anonymous

    What an idiot move, Transfer students add so much to campus!!!!!!!

    Harvard continues to suck

  • Xuan N

    one of my buddies applied to transfer here and got a letter stating we weren't accepting any transfer students this year bc of the influx of freshmen. someone's a liar, i think.